Sri Lanka eyeing maid, caregiver jobs in Singapore

Sri Lanka eyeing maid, caregiver jobs in Singapore

June 18, 2018   12:58 pm

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Demand for caregivers will grow as Singapore’s population ages, and the Sri Lanka High Commission wants Sri Lankan women to fill the shortfall in supply.

To get them ready, its First Secretary for Employment, Welfare and Promotion Geeth Jayasinghe hopes to start them off as maids. He is asking employers in Singapore to consider Sri Lankan women when looking for domestic helpers.

“Working for locals is a way for (domestic workers) to gain the experience to take on caregiver roles in the future,” said Mr Geeth in a media interview.

The High Commission has rolled out a pilot programme that will enrol maids from Sri Lanka into a 56-hour caregiver course provided by Aaxonn, for a discounted rate of $10.

So far, 100 people are in the programme, Mr Geeth said. By next year, he expects 1,000 maids to be enrolled.

Sri Lanka’s move comes as popular source countries for domestic workers, such as Indonesia and the Philippines, are introducing tougher measures for employers in Singapore.

Earlier this year, the Indonesian Embassy imposed a new performance bond of $6,000 on employers who hire Indonesian maids in Singapore, in a move the Manpower Ministry has called unnecessary.

Meanwhile, the Philippine government periodically clamps down on illegal recruitment activities, which may result in suspension.

The most recent one was in November last year when some employers in Singapore who hired new domestic workers were left high and dry for at least the following three weeks.

There are currently about 5,000 Sri Lankan maids here, out of 240,000 maids in Singapore.

But Mr Geeth said the numbers are improving. Last year, 497 newcomers signed on with employers in Singapore, up from 46 in 2013.

Furthermore, Sri Lankan maids have a good track record, he added, noting his fellow citizens have won the Foreign Domestic Worker of the Year award for the past five consecutive years.

The award, given out by the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast), recognises maids who have gone beyond their call of duty.

Last year, Ms Jayawardena Mudiyanselage Sittamma Jayawardena won for her dedication to her employer’s bedridden wife from 1997 until her death last year.

For 20 years, Ms Jayawardena would bathe her charge, change her diapers and urine catheter, feed her every few hours through a nose tube and administer medication.

Fast president Seah Seng Choon warned that employers may not take to maids from Sri Lanka so quickly.

Most employers may prefer someone who can converse in their language, which explains why Indonesian and Filipino maids are more popular, he said.

Sri Lankan maids are particularly popular with Indian families “because they may share the same language”.

Source: The New Paper

-Agencies

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